Pet Health

Dog Cataract Surgery – Symptoms, Treatment, & Cost

Cataracts, left untreated, can result in blurred vision and eventual blindness for dogs. See common symptoms, treatment and cost for dog cataract surgery.

6
min read

As sad as it is, our furry companions get older every day, and with that comes the potential for medical issues. Oftentimes, older dogs lose eyesight just like humans. And while this might scare many dog owners, this is a normal part of aging. Thankfully, cataract surgery for dogs can help your pup combat blurry and cloudy vision due to cataracts. 

Sometimes, decreased eyesight can lead to total blindness. White, cloudy eyes are a common trait among pups with cataracts and a veterinarian should evaluate them. Cataracts can mean a total loss of vision for your mature dog or can lead to built-up fluid in the eye’s lens capsule, resulting in pain and discomfort for your dog. 

It can be tricky navigating these health issues as your fur baby grows older. Here, we’ll explain everything you need to know about cataracts, how to treat them, and the cost of cataract surgery for dogs.

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What Are Cataracts? 

Most dog’s eyes should be free of haze or cloudiness. When they get older, a blue or white haze can cover their eyes. This can result in cataracts – an opaqueness covering the eye, making it hard for the retina to focus on images. Cataracts can lead to loss of vision if not properly treated. 

Keep in mind, dog cataracts won’t blind your pup, but they can make it difficult to see. To prevent major eye problems as they grow older, it’s best to treat cataracts right away. 

Treating Cataracts in Dogs

If your furry friend has been diagnosed with cataracts, the sooner they can get treatment, the better. If they’re a good candidate for surgery, get them treated as quickly as possible. 

It’s essential to see your vet bi-annually for regular checkups. That way, if there’s an issue like cataracts, you can tackle it early on. Your vet will check for cataracts, and you can begin a treatment plan for your pup. This is crucial to prevent cataracts from progressing into a severe condition. 

Cataracts are a treatable condition, so don’t fret. Dog cataract surgery requires the removal of the eye lens, which is then replaced by an artificial one. However, if your dog has pre-existing health conditions, such as glaucoma, retinal degeneration, or retinal detachment, they may not be eligible for cataract surgery. 

Overall, the only real treatment for cataracts is surgery. Talk with your veterinarian about available surgical treatment options for your dog. 

Cataract Surgery in Dogs Process – Can Dogs Get Cataract Surgery?

Each case of cataract surgery for dogs is different and will require a unique treatment plan to get your pup feeling better. Some veterinary clinics operate differently than others, but generally, you’ll drop off your dog the night before or the morning of surgery. Your vet will ensure your fur baby is well taken care of and ready for surgery. 

Before surgery, your dog will require pre-surgical testing before the operation. This entails an ultrasound to check for problems like rupture of the lens or retinal detachment. An ERG (electroretinogram) will also check if your pup’s retina has any issues. If your dog has any of these problems, they might be non-eligible for surgery. 

Then, your pup will undergo surgery with a general anesthetic. To keep the eye steady and relaxed for the operation, your veterinarian will administer a muscle relaxer. 

This procedure is quite simple; your vet will use a technique called phacoemulsification to remove cloudiness and haze. After, they’ll remove the old lens and insert an artificial lens called an intraocular lens, or IOL. The new lens lets the retina focus on images. 

After the surgery is complete, your veterinarian may ask that your dog stay overnight to monitor their health after the surgery. Once you get home, you will need to administer multiple types of eye drops throughout the day for your pup. 

What’s the Recovery Period for My Dog After Cataract Surgery?

We all wish for our four-legged friends to feel better soon, especially after removing cataracts in dogs! And luckily, dog cataract surgery recovery only takes two weeks to recover from. During recovery, you must follow your vet’s advice and protocols for helping your fur baby heal, in addition to administering proper medicine doses. 

To maintain a smooth dog cataract recovery, your pup will need to wear a cone, or E-collar, for the whole two weeks. It’s important to take them outside on a leash and administer the given eye drops and other medications per your vet’s direction. If you stay on top of your dog’s treatment plan, they should have an easy recovery, feeling better in no time! 

Every case is unique, so your vet may require a follow-up appointment two weeks after. Some dogs will need to stay on medications long-term, while others can start receiving lower dosages. Talk with your vet after canine cataract surgery about setting up a follow-up appointment. 

How to Find an Eye Doctor & Associated Costs

Just like humans, our canine friends sometimes need specialized doctors for certain medical issues. For cataract issues, you’ll likely see a veterinary ophthalmologist (eye doctors for pets). However, most of the time, you’ll need a referral from your primary veterinarian to see a veterinary ophthalmologist. If you and your vet think your dog needs to see an eye specialist, get a referral and schedule a visit with your local veterinary ophthalmologist today. 

Dog cataract surgery costs can be hefty, especially when it’s unexpected. Most dog cataract surgery costs range from $2,700 to $4,000. And without financial preparation, this can be a lot to take on. That’s why getting pet insurance can help you pay for unanticipated pet expenses. With pet insurance, you can get the help your fur baby needs without breaking the bank. 

The cost of dog cataract surgery includes:

●      Exam

●      Diagnostics and testing

●      Anesthesia 

●      Surgery 

●      Treatment 

●      Hospitalization or staying overnight at your veterinary clinic

These costs are routine and necessary to provide care for your dog. Keep in mind you may need to pay more if other problems arise with your dog’s health, either during or after the procedure. 

Getting your dog the care they need is essential for your pup’s wellbeing, but spending thousands of dollars on a needed procedure can put you in major debt. Some pet parents opt for buying products online that can alleviate cataracts. You can purchase treatments for your pets without a prescription, but they could also lead to more problems. Talk with your veterinarian before buying cataract medication online. 

Pet insurance is a great way to provide the care your pet needs – including cataract surgery for dogs – without hurting your wallet. When you sign up for a pet insurance policy, you’ll only pay a fraction of the costs because pet insurance covers a significant percentage of expenses.

Most of the time, pet parents opt for either illness/accident plans, wellness packages, or a combination of both. An illness/accident plan covers cataracts expenses and more. 

Your Search for Pet Insurance Is Over

At Fursure, we understand the financial burden medical expenses can be for your furry friend. Made for pet parents by pet parents, we provide insurance guidance to help you find the best policy for your family. When you sign up, you’ll get matched with a customized insurance policy that fits your needs and budget. Buy a pet insurance policy to protect you and your pet!